Friday, June 3, 2011


(Lucio Fulci, 1981)
Fulci's last great film before his gradual fall from grace, The House By The Cemetery is a dark, surreal outing that will immediately appeal to his fans. The Boyle family, Lucy (Catriona MacColl), her husband Dr Norman (Paolo Malco), and their oddly effeminate son Bob (Giovanni Frezza) move from New York to a more spacious house by a cemetery in the country. Prior to the move, Bob is warned by a ghostly little girl to not go, but his parents disbelieve him.
Norman's motive for the move was to resume the unfinished research of his predecessor, Dr Peterson, prior to his suicide. Upon moving in, Lucy is frightened by the discovery of a tombstone set into the floor. They learn that the house used to belong to Dr Freudstein, a man of ill repute who's said to have killed his family and taken his own life.
Shortly after, a mysterious woman named Anne (Ania Pieroni) shows up at the house and professes to be "the babysitter". Nonplussed by the intrusion of the strange woman, the Boyles take her in. Anne, it seems, knows something about the house that the others don't as she first attempts to break into the barricaded cellar, then washes away a trail of blood left by the murder of the house's real estate agent, Mrs Giddleston (Dagmar Lassander). When Anne goes missing, and Lucy and Bob are driven to hysteria by noises and corpses in the cellar, Norman looks into the history of the house and realizes they may have an unwanted tenant living there.
THBTC was the last of Fulci's dark, almost hallucinogenic, and certainly nightmarish films. The lighting is minimal, the Walter Rizzati synth soundtrack is appropriate, and as in The Beyond and City of the Living Dead, the interactions between the characters are enigmatic and nonsensical. In fact, much of the film is nonsensical, but I feel it works as well here as it did in the previously mentioned films. My only real disappointment came not from the amount of gore, but the lack of realism in the other effects ie: the waxy severed head, the mannequin parts representative of real body parts in the cellar, etc. But that's a minor point. I'd recommend it. Buy it here.

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